Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Habitat For Humanity

"This one is going to be my room!" says one of the children.

"I even got to paint my own closet," says another.

Each child gave me the grand tour of their new home, pointing out their favorite aspects of the house. Then we went outside again.

"I even got to mow the grass last night."

"Me too." added his sibling, wanting to be included.

"GOT to mow the grass?" I asked. What child in 2006 speaks of this chore as if it is a privilege rather than a punishment? I had to learn more about this family.

This family, by the way, is one of the newest families to partner with Habitat for Humanity to build and earn their own home. The attitudes of the recipients impressed me. Gratitude and hard-earned pride filled their hearts and spilled over into their conversations.

We set up a sprinkler to give the transplanted sprigs of grass a drink. The three children ran through the bubbling fountain with abandon, joyful to experience this for the very first time. It was as if they were on a famous water park ride somewhere, rather than working hard to get their house ready to move in. The family witnessed a rainbow in the air, arcing the spray of water with hope and promise. Hope for a new life and promise of a home of their own.

When I checked out the Habitat for Humanity Web site, I found this statement, “Habitat is founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a simple, decent, affordable place to live in dignity and safety."

All who desire to help with this worthy organization can volunteer to partner with future homeowners. Any time invested with the recipients isn't just about building a house; it is about mentoring and teaching them, while sharing encouraging options.

Habitat is a faith-based group. Each homeowner is presented with a Bible at their house dedications. Their Web site says, "The work of Habitat for Humanity is driven by the desire to give tangible expression to the love of God through the work of eliminating poverty housing."

Habitat has built more than 200,000 houses around the world, providing more than 1,000,000 people in more than 3,000 communities with safe, decent, affordable shelter.

When I left the project site that night, I couldn't help but think that Jesus would be pleased. When we have been kind to "one of the least of these" it is as if we have been kind to our very God. In this case, I'm not sure this family is "one of the least of these" because, if truth were told, they impacted my life in a much bigger way than I could ever impact them. Reciprocal gifts of this kind, perhaps is exactly what Jesus had in mind when He encouraged us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. In the end, we are all blessed.

No comments: